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Dr. William J. Weiler (Bill)

April 03, 1930 - August 27, 2017

Visitation - Wednesday

August 30, 2017
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Prayer Service - Wednesday

August 30, 2017
- 7:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Funeral Mass - Thursday

August 31, 2017
- 10:00 AM

St. Mary's Cathedral, Fargo

Visitation - Thursday

August 31, 2017
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

St. Mary's Cathedral, Fargo


Boulger Funeral Home

Dr. William J. Weiler (Bill)

April 03, 1930 - August 27, 2017


Surrounded by family, songs, and prayers, Dr. William J. Weiler (Bill) died peacefully on August 27, 2017, in the Palliative Care Unit at the Veterans Hospital in Fargo, ND. Always the gentleman, Bill waited until he could celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary with his beloved bride, his children, and his grandchildren before making his exit.

Bill was born on April 3, 1930 to Mary Agnes (Brown) and Leo Joseph Weiler in Fargo, ND. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School, graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, and received his BA from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. During the summer following his junior year of college, Bill hitchhiked his way across Europe and made enough money selling cigarettes to support his travels. The many stories of his wanderlust ignited a passion for travel and cultural experiences in all of his children. Bill received his Master’s Degree in music in 1952 from Northwestern University after which he served in Military Intelligence with the U.S. Armed Services from 1953-55 in Salzburg, Austria.

Beginning in 1955, Bill began teaching at Shanley High School, served as the Director of Music for the Fargo Diocese, and directed the Schola Cantorum at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He would sing the weekday morning Masses and direct the Sunday High Mass. During this time, he received his PhD at Northwestern University in 1960 and in 1962, Bishop Dworschak invited Bill to be involved with Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo. Affectionately known as “Doc Weiler” to the Seminarians, Bill was the Academic Dean, taught philosophy (with an emphasis in aesthetics), and helped develop an inter-disciplinary course for North Dakota State University (NDSU). Bill’s main focus at the seminary was the chorus, sacred music history, and piano fundamentals. Bill was committed to the importance of good liturgies and taught his students the richness of music in the church. Bringing this appreciation out of the seminarians was not always easy. “They say I’m opinionated; and I guess, you know, there’s a certain amount of truth in that. If you’re hired as a professor, I assume you’re supposed to profess something.” Many students have said that he had an enormous impact on the rest of their lives. Seminarian Peter Lund said, “I don’t think any teacher opened me up to so many things as Doc. It was like going from black and white to color.” Bill retired from Cardinal Muench Seminary and NDSU in 2010 at the age of 80 after 55 years of service.

Bill was an active artist in the F-M area and formed The Unicorn Guild in 1960 with Jerry Lamb. The chamber group performed everything from musicals and operettas to dramatic works. In 1964, The Unicorn Guild presented the musical “The Fantasticks” and he started a real-life romance with Mary Josephine LaBore, who played the female lead. Two years after they began to date, Bill and Mary married and eight children (four boys and four girls) followed.

Bill was also an avid gardener and beautified the home he lived in with his family with a large vegetable patch and a wide variety of flowers. He and his family would spend their summers at their cabin on Fox Lake. Bill loved to fish and was always searching for, “that wily bass.”

Bill is survived by his wife, Mary; children David (Paula), Kathleen, Michael (Sara), Daniel (Kilee), Sarah (James), Brenda (Derek), and Mark; grandchildren Jacob, Joshua, Hannah, Emily, Liam, Maya, Ruby, and Fyrn. He was preceded in death by daughter, Jennifer Ann, parents Agnes and Leo, and sister Noella Rae.

There will be a visitation at Boulger Funeral Home, 123 10th Street South, Fargo, Wednesday, August 30, from 5 to 6:45, followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m. A funeral mass is scheduled for Thursday, August 31, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Mary, 619 7th Street North, Fargo. Bill will be buried at Holy Cross Cemetery next to his daughter Jennifer. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Hospice of the Red River Valley, or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The Weiler family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers of the Fargo VA and Hospice of the Red River Valley.

As an oblate of the Benedictine order, Bill enjoyed reading the work of Joan Chittister, OSB, and her words remind us of him:
“The function of the artist in the life of us all is to make the transcendent visible; to touch the soul in ways that match the soul; to enshrine beauty so that we may learn to see it; and to make where we live places of wonder.” 


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68 responses to “William Weiler”

  1. Ralph Dyrness says:

    Our love and prayers for each of you on Doc’s passing. Will be in touch. Love, Ralph n Jean

  2. Harold & Susan Schnell says:

    Heartfelt thoughts of love for all the family. Bill will be missed. Harold & Susan Schnell

  3. Marla Khan-Schwartz and family says:

    Sending peace and love to the Weiler family during this difficult time.

  4. Carrie Vorwerk Rowser says:

    Sorry for the loss of your dad Sarah. I remember visiting your home when we were in junior high and you could tell you had a beautiful family life. Sending prayers to your whole family.

  5. Betsy and Kevin says:

    Love to you all. What an amazing man our world has lost.

  6. Diana Cale Kennedy says:

    So much love, admiration and respect for the life of this beautiful man and the adoring, devoted and talented family he and Mary created. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Matthew and Diana, Santa Fe ❤

  7. Deb Dawson says:

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  8. Mary Mrozla says:

    Prayers and loving thoughts to you and your family in the passing of Doc. He was a wonderful man whose smile and wisdom , always had time for his former students, will be a fond memory. He will be missed. Mary Mrozla

  9. Sarah Morrau says:

    Dear Weiler family, thinking of you all in the loss of this lovely man. Praying for peace, comfort and healing memories.
    Sarah Morrau

  10. Janet Elder says:


    Jim and I, along with the rest of the Santa Fe Nia community, send our love and condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved father. He sounds like a truly remarkable man. We’re so grateful you could be with him and your family at this time.


  11. Fr. James Cheney says:

    Doc – God love ya!!! You were Cardinal Muench for all those years – you worked so hard out there – the orginal CMS going back to 1962 – Thanks for a lifetime of service – least I can do is offer the Holy Mass for you – Rest in Peace

  12. George Lacher says:

    He is with God

  13. Laetitia and Mark Hellerud says:

    Mary and family- You are in our thoughts and prayers!

  14. Jaci Christman says:

    I’m so sorry to read this news. He sounds like a wonderful man to many who knew him. My thoughts are with all of you. And I also am thinking of Jennifer at this time. She is welcoming him with open arms.

    In sympathy,
    Jaci Christman

  15. Christina Sinohui says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with your entire family. I will always treasure his hospitality and keen sense of humor. Love and peace to you all, Christina Sinohui

  16. Father John Riedman says:

    Mary and family,
    My sympathy to the family as Bill is off to heaven. God Without a doubt will receive him with open arms. I was privileged to share in his music and wisdom for fourteen years as he affected the lives of us at Cardinal Muench Seminnary. My prayers go up for him and for all of you in the family. Though gone physically, he will always be there with you in the many ways he touched your lives. Fr. John Riedman in Kerrville, Texas.

  17. Margrit Lee Schwartz says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father, Kathleen. I have many fond memories spending time at your house our junior and senior year of high school. Your parents were always so kind. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. Hugs.

  18. Joe Larson says:

    I have some great memories growing up next to Mr. Weiler while watching him garden. I also had numerous meaningful conversions with him while he would fill in for Mark downtown when his gallery was first getting started. He always had a great sense of humor and loved his kids. I know he will be greatly missed in many circles.

  19. Paula Jackson says:

    Dave and family~
    I am so sorry for your deep loss of a very special father and deeply faithful man. All of my prayers are with you now and so often.
    All my love~
    Paula J

  20. Jean Schmith says:

    Exceptional teacher. The best.
    On the first paper I handed in to him, Dr. Weiler wrote: “The purpose of writing is communication.” His further comments made it clear that I was obfuscating my message with thousand-dollar words, when hundred-dollar words would be clearer. (He introduced me to the word “obfuscate.” 🙂
    I repeat: Exceptional teacher. The best.

  21. Melissa McCain says:

    What a beautiful life story shared here. Although I did not know him, I see some of Jacob in his smile, and the part about him being opinionated, well, Jacob must have had a little of his personality, too! Very sorry for your loss and may he Rest In Peace.

    Melissa McCain

  22. Mike K. says:

    The lasting,positive impact Doc had on countless lives is a wonderful testament to a great man.Thanks Doc. RIP

  23. Donna Nalewaja says:

    So sorry to learn of Bill passing away. My heartfelt condolences to you Mary and family. What a marvelous career Bill had and his many contributions will never be forgotten. Sincerely, Donna Nalewaja

  24. Richard Wisnewski says:

    Thank you Doc. For all you did for us at CMS. I can still vision you at the piano, trying to help me find what my vocal talents were. Even though my talent was never found, you were always a kind and considerate teacher. And for a high school student, away from home for the first time, I thank you. May you Rest in Peace…

  25. Jerry Feltis says:

    Doc was the Best. He was an outstanding educator, exceptional role model and all around good guy. He opened my small mind to philosophy, aesthetics and classical music. To this day, every time I listen to MPR, I think of Doc Weiler.

  26. Cordell Sinding says:

    Sorry for your loss Weiler family. My deepest condolences and prayers for the void from Mr. Weiler’s passing.

  27. Father James Meyer says:

    May God bless his soul he was a wonderful man I will offer a mass for him. My sympathies to the family. Blessings on this last journey to the kingdom of heaven. Father James Meyer

  28. Fr. Kurt Gunwall says:

    My prayers are with your family.

    We all had a great respect for Doc Weiler in his love for music, teaching, and I especially appreciated the interdisciplinary studies for the broader vision he sought to share and instill in each of us preparing for the priesthood.

    It has also been a pleasure to know many members of the family as you were also a part of our lives at Cardinal Muench Seminary. God be with Bill and each of you.

    Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (to the Greater Glory of God),

  29. Father Jared Kadlec says:

    To the family of “Doc” Weiler: I learned so many things from Doc. His being is what always struck me. Doc lived what Aristotle articulated when he said: “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance, and this, and not the external manner and detail, is true reality.”

  30. Dan Kelly says:

    Great man. Great life. Great family. I have many fond memories of your dad. Thinking of you all.

  31. Bob Dalzell says:

    Doc, you were so open–open to life, and conscious, thoughtful, soulful living; and so were filled with all life had to offer. We, your students at CMS, and all those who were blessed to know you, were touched by that fullness.
    Thank you, and thank God who made you, and all those who formed you into the man you were. Rest in Peace (just make sure the angels sing on key).

  32. Susan Wagner says:

    My sincere condolences to you Mary and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Take care.

  33. Cecile LaBore says:

    My love and prayers to all the family. I wish I could join you for the celebration of Bill’s life- he dearly loved a celebration and I know his love will be with you at this one. May it help channel the consolation of Divine love to you all, and strengthen the connections of shared memory and valued experience to those Bill loved and was loved by.

  34. Paul Scholand says:

    We were fortunate to have shared the life of one of the great ones. Doc has a suitably wide field to work in now.

  35. Steven Willman says:

    Love and prayers to the Weiler family. Thinking of you all.

  36. Dana (Carlson) Fitzgerald says:

    Sarah–thinking of you during this time. I loved the stories my dad would tell of your dad, and remember how welcoming both of your parents were anytime I was at your house. My deepest condolences.

  37. Lori and Joe Askew and family says:

    David, Paula, Jacob, Josh, Hannah, and Emily – our thoughts and prayers are with you all and with your entire family at the loss of your father/grandfather. May your memories comfort and cheer you now and always. Take care, we care! Love, Lori, Joe, Katie, and Tommy Askew.

  38. Tom Albert says:

    What a man. What a life well lived. I was fortunate, in recent years, to be able to tell “Dr Weiler” at a class reunion, what an impact he made in my life. As a student of his at Shanley, he opened a world of music, theater and opera to me that has so enriched my life to the present Every time I attend a performance of any kind marks a little memorial in my heart to him…..I suspect he would like and appreciate that kind of living memorial. My deep and sincere sympathy to my life-long friend and classmate Mary Jo, and the entire family.. I so wish I could be there for the service. However I will be there in spirit. God bless RIP

    Tom Albert SHS ’61 Washington DC

  39. Michael & Martha Olsen says:

    Fond memories of Doc from “back in the day” at Shanley High School. Also, in an indirect way, Bill & Jerry Lamb’s production of The Fantastics was responsible for me ending up a Theatre Major at NDSU. My late father, Alf, who died young at 50, hung with Bill Durkin, Jerry Lamb, and that crowd. When I was a young teen, he took me to see the musical at the Newman Center, my first stage production of any kind. It’s not too dramatic, so to speak, to say that that show changed my life. Later, in 1964, I strolled in to Sid Cichy’s office at Shanley, and quit all sports. Turned out to be as good a decision for the school, as it was for me :-). I was in every school production after that, picked up the guitar (and learned to play it), and again, got that Theatre major.
    Warm thoughts and prayers to Mary and the family from Martha and me. Not for Bill, of course. We all know where he ended up!

  40. Gail Reierson says:

    Thought and Prayers to you and your family, Mary. This wonderful video tribute relays how much one person can add to the quality of life. May your memories sustain you and give you strength.

  41. Damian, Jennifer, and Wyatt Koshnick says:

    It was always such a pleasure to see and talk with Bill. Our love and best wishes to all of you from the Flagstaff Koshnick’s.

  42. Jan and Rip Thompson says:

    Mary and family, What a great man. Loved by many. Our prayers and sympathies to all of you.

  43. Sue Grundysen says:

    “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!”
    Peace to you Mary, and your family.
    All of us at LSSND are praying for your family.

  44. Becky Telin says:

    Thinking of you and your family.

  45. Yasmeen Frost says:

    So sorry for your loss Weiler Family. God bless his soul.

  46. Patty Brosowske says:

    Sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  47. Ermina says:

    Losing a loved one is difficult. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  48. Matthew Von Pinnon says:

    I didn’t know your dad and husband personally, but I always noticed him on the sidelines of all those soccer games or wherever his kids were. Quiet but watching. He was a big fan of his family in all they were doing. That says a lot about him. Also, reading about him here, I now understand why everyone in the family is musically talented. What a legacy. Your family is in my thoughts.

  49. Don Wold says:

    Mary Jo & family, our prays and thoughts are with you, we are out of town or else we would be with you Micker & Don Wold

  50. Sue Petry says:

    May this powerful, gifted man’s essence reside in your spirits, especially when challenges abound. Though I didn’t know him personally, I realize that whenever I have been touched by Weiler music, I am experiencing his influence, for which I am grateful.

  51. Deb and Mike Jenkins says:

    Sorry for your loss, what a great father and person in our community.

  52. Gen Eidem says:

    Our loss is heavens gain. Bill was a positive, fun loving, gentle, charismatic, talented artist, etc. etc.
    etc. Always felt joy after a visit with him. He and Orv are very likely involved in a jam session this very moment.
    Blessings to you all…Gen Eidem
    PS. So sorry I am unable to attend Bills celebration. I know it will be a special time. I so enjoy the music behind this site. I think it’s the jazz mass that Ed Christianson wrote..right?

  53. Fr. Bob Schreiner says:

    No one. No one has had the influence over my life more meaningful and satisfying than Doc. Beauty. Beauty is the word and the way that has ‘haunted’ me since my life at Cardinal Muench. And I could not be more grateful. Doc showed me how to see. And it has influenced everything – EVERYTHING – I have been about since. My failures are mine. But successes are due to people like Doc. In their own ways I also include, Sr. Patricia Forrest and Fr. John Riedman. I shall joyfully offer Masses for Doc’s soul. And Mary and family – thank you. THANK YOU for sharing his with so many of us throughout the years…There is no other quite like him.

  54. Casper Jacob says:

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Weiler, your husband. I remember both of you when i was a student at Shanley. I remember Mr. Weiler as someone who was able to get the most out of his students. Mary, i will keep Bill and your entire family in prayer. May God richly bless you.

  55. Mary Ann Albert says:

    Dear Mary Jo and family,
    May all the good memories you have fill your heart with joy. Just viewed the video keepsake and can see there are so many happy times to remember. Your family love shines forth brightly. Bill (Mr. Weiler to those of us from SHS days) experienced that love in his life. He is at peace with God now. May God bless all of you.

    Mary Ann Albert (SHS ’59)

  56. Jeanette Marcotte says:

    Mary and family,

    God bless your family in this time of sorrow.

    I am 1960 graduate of Shanley High School, and remember you Mary from chorus, and your husband of course was the instructor and enjoyed the class very much.

  57. Tim Harildstad says:

    I met Doc as a junior in high school seminary. Over the next six years Doc taught numerous courses that I treasure. His love of the intellectual life provided the template that I followed in my life. Philosophy provides questions. Aesthetics answers that beauty is truth. Existentialism teaches that we need not know answers to live in a world of beauty. I suspect that is why he liked to garden. May you live in peace in Eden.

  58. Jamie Klein says:

    to our Sarah, and to all of the Weiler family…

    extending condolences to you all in the loss of your sweet, beloved father. what a beautiful tribute to his life. what a beautiful honor to him in those who hold his life as part of their story. blessings on you all in these days and peace in the days ahead.

    much love, Jamie Klein and Phillip Brooks

  59. Serena Jiskra says:

    Our family was blessed to be Bill and Mary’s neighbor from 2001 – 2011. Bill always had a warm smile and caring words for us and our children. They welcomed us to their neighborhood and exhibited kindness in so many ways. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

    Wayne, Serena, Lindsey & Gavin Jiskra

  60. Janell Regimbal says:

    Dear Mary,
    I was so sad to receive word while out of state of Bill’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family and my prayers will be with you all. I wish I could have been at the celebration of his full and wonderful life today but sending love and hugs from across the miles.

  61. Jim and Cathi Knudson says:

    Cathi and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Bill. I sang for Bill in a boy’s choir in the 4th grade at Saint Marys as well as at Shanley, in the Schola Cantorum, and at least one concert with the Unicorn Guild. Cathi also sang for him in the choir at Saint Marys. I regarded him as one of my heros and as I got older, a true friend. We are keeping the Weiler Family in our thoughts and prayers.

  62. Jeff Leintz says:

    Thoughts and prayers to your family. Doc will always be fondly remembered and loved as the best teacher I ever had.

  63. Stacey Anthony says:

    My heart goes out to the Weiler family.
    I extend to you my most heartfelt sorrow and condolences.

  64. Laura Isensee says:

    The Pancratz family sends our deep sympathy on the death of Dr. Weiler.

    Dr. Weiler was one of the finest teachers we ever had. We were so fortunate to have his college-level teaching offered to us as seniors at Shanley. He layed the ground work for a life long interest in “Arts & Ideas”, as the name of the class textbook was so aptly titled, and which still sits on our bookshelves today.

    Dr. Weiler seemed a man of many interests and had a wonderful impact on my sister and me.

    With sympathy and prayers,

    Laura Pancratz Isensee
    Lyn Pancratz Reis

  65. Jill Bishop says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I will miss Bill so much. Doc Weiler not only brought music and the beauty of art to this world he also helped mend those with broken hearts and souls. Bill was always at group for those who lost someone to suicide. When I walked into group and saw his eyes I would just feel better. Im not sure if he was a hugger but he always had a hug for me and anyone else in our group that needed one. His smile always made me feel better and somehow being around him always made me think it was going to be ok. He did so much for this community and touched the lives of those in pain so they could find peace and healing.

    Shalom Doc Weiler you are loved and will be missed greatly!

  66. Buffy Holbrook (Knudson-Anderson) says:

    Dan and Family- I am sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. He was a wonderful man who made an impact on all that he knew.
    With my deepest sympathies- Buffy

  67. Barb Murray says:

    I am so very sorry for your Loss, May you find Peace at this most difficult time. Prayers to all of you! Barb Murray

  68. Peter Lund says:

    Wonderful video! Thank you so much for posting it! Love, Pete Lund

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